When it comes to culinary talent, Austin is where you’ll find an overwhelming amount of it. There’s certainly some competition in the restaurant business, with so many individuals finding success thanks to their culinary talents and passion for cooking. Here are some of the top chefs in Austin that are helping to put the Lone Star State on the map when it comes to food:
Jodi Elliott is the former pastry chef from Foreign & Domestic. She left the position to open up her own pastry shop and dessert bar called Bribery. She offers a new take on desert, serving a brownie sundae with milk chocolate ice cream, cherry caramel sauce and french fries for the perfect balance of salty and sweet flavors. Elliott took home the 2013 title of Food & Wine’s “The People’s Best New Pastry Chef.”
After graduating from culinary school, David Bull moved from Dallas to Austin, where he served as the executive chef of the Driskill Grill. He earned the Austin American-Statesman’s “Number One Restaurant Award” for three years in a row. His eatery was also recognized by USA Today as one of the country’s Top 50 Hotel Restaurants. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the accomplishments of this top chef. He was also named “Best New Chef in 2003” by Food & Wine, and three years later, he made an appearance on the popular Food Network show “Iron Chef America” where he took on Bobby Flay creating dishes using the mystery ingredient of wild boar. In 2007, he was nominated for a James Beard award for “Best New Chef Southwest” and was named chef partner of La Corsha Hospitality Group. Then two years later, he released his cookbook “Bull’s Eye on Food.”
This 42-year-old may not have grown up in Austin, but he has certainly revolutionized the dining scene in the city. In 2003, he opened up Uchi – a restaurant showcasing his avant-garde Japanese food. The establishment proved to be successful, as he was named one of Food and Wine’s Best New Chefs in 2005. Three years later, he made an appearance on Iron Chef America, battling against the great Masaharu Morimoto. But this chef’s successes don’t stop here. He also picked up a James Beard Foundation Award in 2011 for Best Chef Southwest. Cole then decided to open a sister restaurant to Uchi called Uchiko, as well as Uchi Houston.
Paul Qui is now the executive chef at Uchiko, serving under owner Tyson Cole. In his position as chef, he blends influences from South East Asian and European cuisine to produce truly unique flavors. Qui made a name for himself in 2012 when he won Top Chef Texas, which gained him national exposure. He also won the James Beard Award for Best Southwest Chef and even made an appearance on season nine of “Top Chef.” In December of 2013, Qui opened his own restaurant called East Side King. It boasts an Asian-fusion concept with menu items including steamed roasted pork belly buns, Brussels sprouts salad and chasu pork tacos, among many other tasty items.